Dalit organisations call for nationwide bandh, protesting against SC ruling
02 April 2018
Many Dalit organisations have called for a nationwide bandh on Monday, protesting against the alleged dilution of the SCs/STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, following a Supreme Court order a few days ago.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government will file a review petition immediately with the apex court. Last week, a delegation of Dalit ministers and MPs led by union minister Ram Vilas Paswan had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed the matter relating to the SC judgement.
Opposition party leaders had also met President Ram Nath Kovind, asking him to urge the government to file a review petition. They told him that the government had not fought the case effectively and should now file a review petition.
The 20 March Supreme Court judgement said arrest of an accused under the Act is not mandatory and recourse to coercive action would happen only after preliminary inquiry and sanction by the competent authority.
It also ruled out an ‘absolute bar’ against grant of anticipatory bail in cases under the Atrocities Act if no prima facie case is made out or where “on judicial scrutiny the complaint is found to be prima facie mala fide.”
Dalit organisations fear that the ruling could lead to an increase in attacks on people from SC/ST communities. The national bandh that many of the organisations have called for is to protect against the dilution of the act.